A royal commission sparked by last summer's devastating bushfires has recommended the federal government have the power to declare a national emergency for such disasters.
It also called for Australia to develop its own aerial firefighting fleet and introduce more consistent warnings and fire danger ratings across the country.
Amid warnings such events will become more complex, more unpredictable and more difficult to manage because of climate change, the commission has also called for a more co-ordinated national response.
Governments at all levels should be engaged, along with indigenous and other communities, to ensure effective disaster management, action and recovery.
"This does not mean that the Australian government should take over from state and territory governments," the commission said in its report released on Friday.
"Rather, it means that we need whole-of-nation, whole-of-government and whole-of-society co-operation and effort."
The commission said it should fall to the prime minister to declare a state of national emergency, which would be the catalyst for a more coherent, pre-emptive and expeditious mobilisation of federal government resources.
A declaration would be an important signal to communities and individuals about the severity of the disaster and the need for government agencies, including the defence force, to be on high alert to help states and territories in the response and recovery efforts.
The commission restated a previous recommendation that a body similar to national cabinet be established to take charge of high-level, strategic decisions.
It also called for a more consistent approach to bushfire warnings and fire danger ratings describing the current differences as "confusing, upsetting, and sometimes even dangerous".
It said past efforts in this area were "disappointingly slow".
On the question of fuel management, the commission said state and territory governments should clearly communicate their fuel load strategies to the public, report on the outcomes of those strategies, and better educate the public about fuel management.
It said federal, state and territory governments should review legislation and processes relating to vegetation management and hazard reduction, to ensure clarity about how and when land managers could undertake reduction activities.
Rather than relying on leased resources, it recommended a national aerial firefighting capability include the purchase of air tankers and helicopters which could be tasked according to the greatest national need.
Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud said the federal government intended to work collaboratively with the states to respond to the commission's 80 recommendations.
Fourteen of those are directed to the federal government, 23 to the states and territories, 41 are shared between the jurisdictions and two are specifically focused on the insurance industry and the Australian Building Code board.
"The royal commission report outlines lessons for us all on how to better prepare for, manage and recover from natural disasters," Mr Littleproud said.
"There are lessons for governments, essential service providers, insurers, charities, communities and individuals."
He said the next step would be to call a meeting of emergency service ministers.
"The government does not intend to take a backward step on this. We intend to address these recommendations as quickly as we can," the minister said.
"The prime minister has been very clear on this from the start that this report was important to our nation, not just to pay respect to those lives that were lost, but to each and every one of us moving into the future.
"It goes to our next journey of this nation's healing after one of the most significant natural disasters in our nation's history."
Last summer's fires raged across NSW, Victoria, the ACT and South Australia and burned through 10 million hectares, claiming 33 lives and destroyed 10,000 homes and other structures.
More than 80,000 head of livestock were killed and millions of native plants and animals were lost.
Australian Associated Press